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Personal Purpose Builds Romance

Focused Dating Profiles Rated Higher

Dating Apps are a popular option for romance.

By John Salak –

Online dating remains a popular option for those looking for love, especially for those under 30. In fact, the Pew Research Center reports that about 30 percent of all Americans have used a dating app, including slightly more than half of the under-30 set. 

All this online activity, of course, begs a larger question no matter the age of the individuals involved. Are they all looking for love in all the wrong places? The answer is unclear, although Pew does report that approximately one in ten partnered adults—those married or living with a significant other—connected via an online dating platform.  

Washington University in St. Louis now, however, suggests that the lovelorn might be able to increase their chance of sustained romance by demonstrating a sense of purpose in life. At a minimum, dating profiles that show purpose are rated higher than those that don’t by would-be partners, according to Associate Professor Isabella D’Ottone, a university researcher. 

“In general, we found people with a higher purpose were considered to be more romantically attractive,” D’Ottone said. 

The university’s latest research built on previous studies on how a sense of purpose also aligns with maintaining better long-term relationships. The research released in February focused on four categories of “sense of purpose” and created four dating profiles to match each category. The researcher also created five control profiles that indicated no sense of purpose. 

The four “purpose” categories were: prosocial orientation, which is related to helping others; relationship orientation, which is centered around family and finding a partner; financial orientation, which involves financial security; and creative orientation which includes goals focused on creativity and originality.

The research team then lined up 119 participants who each read and ranked the nine fake profiles on various measures of attractiveness.

The results revealed that in addition to rating the purpose-driven profiles higher than those lacking purpose, participants also rated profiles higher if they shared the same purpose orientation. This means, for example, people with a creative purpose will be drawn to others with creative focus and so on. 

The study did cite one apparent outlier. Financially focused profiles did not rate as high as categories by participants who were not financially oriented. 

“In general, looking at all the purpose profiles, people were not as attracted to the financially oriented person,” D’Ottone noted. 

Washington University’s research, admittedly, may not become the foundation for a new Love Potion Number Nine. But showing some purpose in life may nonetheless help move romance along.





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